The Stoic Glossary

How to speak like a Stoic


"Let no act be done without a purpose, nor otherwise than according to the perfect principles of art." Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 4.2

adiaphora (ἀδιάφορα): indifferent things, neither good nor bad.

agathos (ἀγαθός): good, proper object of desire.

anthrôpos (ἄνθρωπος): human being, used by Epictetus to express an ethical ideal.

apatheia (ἀπάθεια): serenity, peace of mind, such as that achieved by the Stoic sage.

aphormê (ἀφορμή): aversion, impulse not to act (as a result of ekklisis). Opposite of hormê.

aproêgmena (ἀπροηγμένα): dispreferred things. Morally indifferent but naturally undesirable things, such as illness. Opposite of proêgmena.

aretê (ἀρετή): Virtue. Goodness and human excellence.

askêsis (ἄσκησις): disciplined training designed to achieve virtue.

ataraxia (ἀταραξία): tranquillity, untroubled by external things.

autarkeia (αὐτάρκεια): self-sufficiency, mental independence of all things.

daimôn (δαίμων): divine spirit within humans.

diairesis (διαίρεσις): analysis, division into parts. Used when distinguishing what is subject to our power of choice from what is not.

dikaiosyne (δικαιοσύνε): justice, "consonant with the law and instrumental to a sense of duty" (Diogenes Laertius 7.98). One of the four virtues (justice, courage, temperance, wisdom/prudence).

dogma (δόγμα): principle established by reason and experience.

doxa (δόξα): belief, opinion.

ekklisis (ἔκκλισις): aversion, inclination away from a thing. Opposite of orexis.

ekpyrôsis (ἐκπύρωσις): cyclical conflagration of the Universe.

eph' hêmin (ἐφ' ἡμῖν): up to us, what is in our power, e.g. the correct use of impressions.

epistêmê (ἐπιστήμη): certain and true knowledge, over and above that of katalêpsis.

eudaimonia (εὐδαιμονία): happiness, well-being.

eupatheia (εὐπάθεια): good feeling (as contrasted with pathos), occurring in the Stoic sage who performs correct (virtuous) judgements and actions.

hêgemonikon (ἡγεμονικόν): ruling faculty of the mind.

heimarmenê (εἱμαρμένη): fate, destiny.

hormê (ὁρμή): positive impulse or appetite towards an object (as a result of orexis). Opposite of aphormê.

hylê (ὕλη): matter, material.

kalos (κάλος): beautiful. Sometimes used in a moral sense: honourable, virtuous.

katalêpsis (κατάληψις): clear comprehension and conviction.

kathêkon (καθῆκον): duty, appropriate action on the path to Virtue.

kosmos (κόσμος): order, world, universe.

logikos (λογικός): rational.

logos (λόγος): reason, explanation, word, argument. Also, the ordering principle in the kosmos.

logos spermatikos (λόγος σπερματικός): the generative principle of the Universe which creates and takes back all things.

nomos (νόμος): law, custom.

oiêsis (οἴησις): opinion, usually arrogant or self-conceited.

oikeiôsis (οἰκείωσις): self-ownership and extension. The process of self-awareness in all animals, which in humans leads to a sense of community.

orexis (ὄρεξις): desire, inclination towards a thing, Opposite of ekklisis.

ousia (οὐσία): substance, being.

paideia (παιδεία): training, education.

palingenesia (παλιγγενεσία): periodic renewal of the world associated with ekpyrôsis.

pathos (πάθος): passion or emotion, often excessive and based on false judgements.

phantasiai (φαντασία): impression, appearance, the way in which something is perceived.

physis (φύσις): nature.

pneuma (πνεῦμα): air, breath, spirit, often as a principle in Stoic physics.

proêgmena (προηγμένα): preferred things. Morally indifferent but naturally desirable things, such as health. Opposite of aproêgmena.

pro(h)airesis (προαίρεσις): free will, reasoned choice, giving or withholding assent to impressions.

prokopê (προκοπή): progress, on the path towards wisdom.

prolêpsis (πρόληψις): preconception possessed by all rational beings.

prosochē (προσοχή): attitude and practice of attention. State of continuous, vigilant, and unrelenting attentiveness to oneself (prohairesis)

psychê (ψυχή): mind, soul, life, living principle.

sophos (σοφός): wise person, virtuous sage, and the ethical ideal.

sunkatathesis (συγκατάθεσις): assent, approval to impressions, enabling action to take place.

sympatheia (συμπάθεια): sympathy, affinity of parts to the organic whole, mutual interdependence.

technê (τέχνη): craft, art. The practical application of knowledge, especially epistêmê.

telos (τέλος): goal or objective of life.

theôrêma (θεώρημα): general principle or perception.

theos (θεός): god; associated with the order in the Universe.

tonos (τόνος): tension, a principle in Stoic physics causing attraction and repulsion, and also the cause of virtue and vice in the soul.